COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A senior Republican congressman from Ohio said Thursday that he will resign from his seat to take the helm of a business policy group back home.
U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi, who has held the seat since 2001, said he plans to leave sometime before Jan. 31. His two-year term was set to end in January 2019.
"Leaving Congress is not a decision I take lightly but after a lot of consideration, it is the best one for me, my wife, Denice, and our four wonderful daughters," he said.
Tiberi, 54, sits on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and is interested in seeing work completed on high-profile tax overhaul legislation before he leaves Capitol Hill. President Donald Trump and GOP leaders are aiming to pass the legislation by the end of this year, though it could slip into next year or fall apart entirely.
Tiberi has been tapped to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable, whose longtime president is retiring at the end of the year. The organization conducts research and drives debate in a range of policy areas that participating CEOs have identified as economic priorities for Ohio.
He said the position "will allow me to continue to work on public policy issues impacting Ohioans while also spending more time with my family." His mother recently died, and his father is in ill health.
Tiberi becomes just the latest establishment-aligned Republican to announce his departure from Congress under the Trump administration, though others are staying through the ends of their term.
The growing list includes Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Dave Reichert of Washington and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, all creating competitive seats for Democrats to target in next year's midterm elections.
Tiberi's district, however, has voted heavily Republican and would be very tough for Democrats to pick up, though they're certain to take a hard look at it as they aim to retake control of the House next year.
It will be up to Republican Gov. John Kasich to call for a special election to fill the vacancy. The GOP's primary slate could include J.D. Vance, the oft-appearing conservative pundit who wrote "Hillbilly Elegy"; state Sen. Kevin Bacon or Kris Jordan, who each represent portions of the district at the Statehouse; and others.
Kasich, who is term-limited, held Tiberi's congressional seat previously. His political spokesman, Chris Schrimpf, said he has no interest in running for the seat.
U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, a fellow Ohioan who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, praised Tiberi's leadership and expressed confidence the GOP could hold onto the district.
"Ohio's 12th District was carried by Republicans from the top of the ticket down by double-digit margins in 2016, and I am confident its long record of electing conservative leaders will continue in 2018," Stivers said Thursday.
Meredith Kelly, director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Democrats definitely "will be in the fight" if the district appears winnable.
"Congressman Tiberi is throwing in the towel and fleeing to the private sector because Speaker (Paul) Ryan and the Republican establishment in Washington are failing at their jobs and refuse to get anything done for the American people," Kelly said.
AP Congressional Correspondent Erica Werner in Washington contributed to this report.